This is a tutorial primarily for beginners who are interested in editable poly. A set of stairs will be completed from this tutorial. I am using 3DS Max 2009, but any version of 3DS Max should be fine.
Start with a box. The length, width, and height parameters are up to you depending on how long, wide, and tall you want your stairs to be. This part does not matter much because editable poly will distort these parameters (Fig.01).
My parameters are:
Length Segments: 10
Width Segments: 0
Height Segments: 0
The amount of length segments will later be the amount of stairs.
Right click on your object > Convert to > Convert to Editable Poly (Fig.02).
Click "Polygon" under the "Selection" Rollout. Select all but one polygon and then hit the box next to "Extrude" under the Edit Polygons rollout. When the Extrude Polygons box appears, click "Group" under "Extrusion Type" and type 5.0" under "Extrusion Height". Continue this until you get something that looks like stairs (Fig.03).
Select each step and hit "Extrude". Type 1.25".
Select the polygons as seen in Fig.04 and extrude those 1.25".
Click "Edge" under the "Selection" rollout and select any edges you want to smooth. Click "Chamfer" under the "Edit Edges" rollout. Apply however many segments you want. I used three.
Scroll down to "Slice Plane" under the "Edit geometry" rollout. Slice however many times you want. I sliced twice.
Edit anything you want: Scale, move, add, delete.
Texture - everything looks better when textured!
And you're done (Fig.05)!